The ‘radical’ Economic Freedom Fighters
One must beg the question of why the EFF emerged in the way they did and to what extent they represent a radical movement that seeks to liberate those in South Africa who have been ‘forgotten’? It would probably suffice to begin with a brief history of the party’s leaders.
Julius Malema or the “Commander in Chief”, formally the head of the African National Congress Youth League had built a reputation for playing clever politics and creating a fuss in the media. One must not forget the negative impact Malema had on the Youth League that remains largely divided today, because it is the pinnacle of his removal.
The so called radical Malema and his compatriot Floyd Shivambu began loosing influence in the national structures within the ANC after a number of reckless and opportunistic statements, and it was only when Malema was removed from the Youth League that Shivambu decided to follow his new ‘CIC’.
The formation of the EFF was a political move conceived by individuals who identified a gap in South Africa’s political landscape. This gap was the plight of the working class, who were fragile and an easy target.
The EFF began its work in the strategic area of Marikana, while the EFF itself may not have always been present in Marikana it is believed to have been the main force pulling the strings behind Joseph Mathunjwa’s personal bank account (trade union) AMCU.
AMCU is responsible for the divisions seen in the platinum belt and the violent strike that left 44 people dead, and created great division within the trade unions. While this information is not general public knowledge, if one looks deep enough into the relationship between AMCU and the EFF or Mathunjwa and Malema the link reveals itself.
I suppose that the guilt within the EFF runs so deep they cannot forgive themselves and feel the need to submit the blame to the ANC and the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, hoping that the more the blame is shifted the internal guilt will fade. Well that’s one theory anyway.
What almost destroys that theory is the EFF’s use of the event for political gain. During the 2014 election campaign, one of the core features of all the speeches was a reminder of the incedents that occurred in Marikana, and how the EFF represented the struggle for those miners. A simple play on the emotions of the communities and individuals who sympathized with the striking miners.
It seems to much of a convenient situation that in the emergence of the EFF - who continually call for protest action – South Africa would see one of the longest strikes the mining industry has ever experienced. An EFF response to this assumption would probably label it ‘capitalist’ and an attempt to discredit the workers struggle, which should receive a response that begs the definition of a capitalist as apposed to a critical thinker, having defined the two concepts, the second one is clearly more aligned to the tone of this paper.
Furthermore, the title is questioning the extent to which the EFF can be labeled radical, and does not seek to question the validity of the workers struggle. This perhaps should have been clarified at the onset, but seems suitable at this stage of the paper.
The EFF successfully played on the emotions of nearly one million South Africans, and is now in parliament. I guess Malema and Floyd achieved what they vowed they would do when Malema was removed from the Youth League. Parliament is now comprised of a team of opportunistic radicals who have learnt to play the game of politics all to well. Red overalls became the new approach adopted, an attempt to illustrate to the average South African worker that a voice for them was now in parliament. Symbolically this was powerful (even I cannot deny this) but that’s exactly the point it’s symbolically powerful and practically irrelevant, since those same overalls are removed when the house is closed and the lavish tailored suits and shoes are re-united with the so called ‘radicals’.
These same radicals have who at first vowed to their voters that the benefits MPs received would not be accepted- are now enjoying them. Furthermore, with a now tax bill of R1.5 Million (as if that isn’t a lot), Julius Malema is house shopping and looking at investment houses worth somewhere around R6-8 million, one must question where this money comes from?
Perhaps Mathanjwa’s blood money hasn’t run out yet. Its more shocking to notice that even the researchers of the EFF seem to be enjoying the parliamentary benefits, escalating to purchasing new vehicles, IOS devices and a somewhat luxurious lifestyle.
It seems Ironic that a party with so much blood on its hands would be so quick as to blame every other person instead of themselves, it seems more Ironic that a party that is so deeply concerned with the workers struggle continues to live a lavish lifestyle under the guise of inspiring the working class with idea of LV shoes and flashy cars.
If this is a justified claim then the EFF should question why officials have shares in the mines, because it too can be seen as a way to inspire the miners? Unless Malema is earning around R1 Million a month in parliament – the money he currently has must come from somewhere else- now that’s a scandal.
So how is it that so many have been fooled and become disillusioned by the propaganda machine called the EFF? Simple the EFF resorts to ‘evil’ and sadistic tactics to ensure they maintain a lifestyle they came close to loosing.
What is the difference between Malema, Shivambu, Ndlozi, and the rest of the EFF team and a ‘capitalist’- seems they have become very comfortable with growing their own capital at the emotional and reckless exploitation of those they have convinced and brainwashed? Would it not be radical for the EFF members to have built houses in Gugulethu, well no because that wouldn’t have had the same emotional response as building houses for the victims of the Marikana strike did – it’s a well thought out strategy that plays into the emotions of South Africans.
Again a point of clarity here is required, this paper is not suggesting that the building of houses for the Marikana victims is ‘bad’ – it was just used to illustrate the type of politics the EFF is engaging in.
So I ask is the EFF the radical party they claim to be or do they represent a group of money hungry, ruthless, unapologetic capitalists who seek to undermine the ruling party at every opportunity with weak critiques and opportunistic rhetoric.